Wednesday, January 23, 2008

After a long time since the last chapter, I’ll conclude today the TANDEM triptic, started in the end of October, focusing on the proposed mission’s payload.

There are some aspects that make of this mission intending to explore Titan and Enceladus in depth that are truly tempting, one of this is the fact of TANDEM includes, in its design, an orbiter and in-situ elements. This opens opportunities for the development of both massive and smaller payloads and will permit to have a wider collaboration from a wider range of ESA’s member states and international pretenders, interested in providing instruments to study both moons.

TANDEM can become a wealthy inheritor…having Cassini-Huygens as an ancestor this can only mean that the better lessons will be learned and, if approved, it can mature its concept by counting with all the incoming technology under development for ExoMars.

By merging Cassini-Huygens experience and the constant evolution of, both, scientific and technological knowledge it can be expected a payload with novelties in what concerns the instruments concept itself, being the mission proposals aiming for an unprecedent detail and quality of the data acquired, also it is an objective of TANDEM to scan, thoroughly, all spectral ranges return of data where detail and quality is the and the thorough scanning in all spectral ranges.

TANDEM, although a specific mission, will work as a breakthrough ground for innovation, what are the areas that will deserve a special attention from the specialists involved in such a process and that will open new roads for the following adventures?
TANDEM will have, naturally, to improve Entry, Descent and Landing technics, learning from Huygens’ experience, aerocapture, the development of balloons, mini-probes and penetrators are also key areas where evolution will, inevitably, occur.

The predicted use of RTGs in the orbiter of this mission, will imply a deeper study of this kind of technology, what will, eventually, permit the development of smaller RTGs that could be used in a whole new set of exploration options, of which small balloons and longlived seismic stations are only two examples.
Solar power is also present at the proposal not only as a life support for the mission but also studied to be used as propulsion system.

The study of a tether system and surface sampling capabilities, the search for new paths that will permit science autonomy onboard the mission to be more reliable, through the development of better data selection, compression and storage techniques.
Communications and new trajectory designs for the probe, the landers and the penetrators releases on Titan and Enceladus, are also fields where minds will focus on with special attention.

Also the existing environment on the far Saturnian system will enable technological innovation here on Earth by permitting new miniaturization techniques in the microelectronics field, due to the relatively low radiation experienced by a mission like TANDEM, that allows the preservation of its functionality.

Coming soon: TANDEM Status Report

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